Monday, 16 February 2009

Strategy Group Agenda

The strength of the human spirit, along with our appetite for tackling the problems we face at any point in time, is both tested and but often renewed in adverse conditions. As strategists our senses become heightened when we exist within an environment of constant change. This state of high-alert is instructive and should be channelled in a way that can bring about positive results. It is against this backdrop of change that I have taken over the IPA Strategy Group as Chair.

Image Shepherd Fairey

The timing could not be more perfect. I am not one for complacency. I would much prefer a challenge particularly when, it is exactly as a result of such challenges that we adapt in Darwinian fashion to the circumstance we find ourselves in. The coincidence of a damaged financial ecosystem, an advertising business facing a fall in client expenditure and the rapid adoption of technology means that there could not be a better time for many of us to be practising as strategists.

However, to be successful we must be brave and confident in our approach. It is often the case that when faced with challenges that we revert to the tried and tested methods of the past. This, in part is a normal and sensible response, however we must accept that it is also time to complement decades of learning with a more innovative response.

If I have learnt anything in the last 19 years working within the marketing communications business it is that the people within in it tend to be creatively-driven, positive thinkers who tend to shrug off the issues of the moment and instead look to a vision of the future where the problems have dissipated and the brands and business we help steward are leading the way creating future wealth, prosperity and jobs.

What I have also learnt is that we cannot do it as a collection of individuals. The big advantage of working as Chairman of the IPA Strategy Group is that I am surrounded by people more intelligent than I am. This is a good thing. My success is bundled up into what we can achieve as a cohesive force. I believe strategy is a force for good and if ever there were a time in last 20 years that we should unite in order to bring about positive results it is now.

My hope is that if I can help not only harness the collective brain-power of the Strategy Group but also the wider strategic community then we may all reap the wider benefits of collaboration.

This collaboration should give rise to a more visible strategic community, a more open one and one that is best able to meet the challenges we face. We are not doing this from a standing start. Many strategists now write excellent blogs that help to inspire, agitate and capture something that we are all feeling but don’t quite know how to put into words.

We want the Strategy Group to help to enhance this already thriving community through the recognition and reward of outstanding thinking. Moreover, we want to seek out the next generation of strategists and help to accelerate their ability to influence how we go about solving problems.

The Group are in the process of formulating a plan that will shape what we do and what we achieve over the next two years. There will, of course, be events, debates, articles, thought-pieces that will help amplify the thoughts of strategists across the industry.

However, there are many who do not know about the Group, what we do and how we go about it. If this is the case then I would encourage you to look at the IPA Strategy Group blog at We would love to, need to, here your thoughts about strategy.

So what does success look like? What do we want to achieve? We’ll know when we have been effective when we have something tangible to show for our efforts. The vision would be to find someway of harnessing the collective force of our community in a way that is visible, vocal and is able to bring about positive change.

This could be a book, an event, a web series, a wiki or an informal gathering. Or it could be all these things. All we know is that an opportunity exists so fulfilling that needs has to be a primary objective of the Group, so please check the blog for details. In the meantime if you would like to be involved do let us know in whatever way you choose.

No comments: